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Tunisian parliament approves $14 biliion budget for 2017

TUNIS Tunisia’s parliament approved on Saturday a 32.7 billion dinar ($14.1 billion) budget for next year, including deficit cutting measures that had been watered down under pressure from unions.

From a total of 217 lawmakers in parliament, 122 voted in favour of the finance bill. Earlier this week parliament struck out two key clauses imposing taxes on lawyers and pharmacists, in a blow to government efforts to raise new revenue, and the government partially reversed plans to freeze public sector pay.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed told parliament after Saturday’s vote that the budget would still have a positive impact on public finances next year.

The budget forecasts growth at 2.5 percent and the budget deficit narrowing to 5.4 percent.

($1 = 2.3155 Tunisian dinars)

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Writing by Aidan Lewis, editing by David Evans)

-Reuters